Las Vegas Holidays
Your Las Vegas holiday
If you’re looking for a wild and carefree break, you need holidays in Las Vegas. Drive a flash car along the iconic ‘Strip’, soaking up the anything-goes atmosphere. Lose track of time in one of the famous casinos, where dice don’t stop rolling and the drinks don’t stop flowing. And don’t miss one of the world-class shows or sporting spectacles going on right in your hotel!
Jump on a cheap flight to Las Vegas and find out for yourself how naughty ‘Sin City’ can be.
Las Vegas, which means ‘the meadows’, was named after the lush greenery that surrounded the valley in which the city is located. The area was inhabited by native Amerindians until the mid 19th century, when explorers discovered a hidden oasis in the desert.
By the early 20th century, Las Vegas was a stop on the main rail route connecting East and West USA.
Remarkably, betting was made illegal in Las Vegas in 1910, though it didn’t stop a dramatic rise in underground gaming. Eventually, gambling was legalised in the early 1930s, primarily as a means of raising tax revenues for the state. The number of casinos grew rapidly after the Second World War, drawing in huge numbers of visitors despite the well-known mafia industry running behind the scenes.
The Strip soon became a synonym for big-league gambling and outlandish entertainment. It evolved rapidly with changing consumer tastes and gambling legislation.
Most significantly, when the federal ban on gambling was removed in other areas of the country in the 70s and 80s, the race began to build giant casino hotels. Today, a large proportion of the world’s biggest resorts are still found in Las Vegas.
The thirst for giant entertainment centres and luxury lodging hasn’t waned in the 21st century. The first section of a multi-billion dollar mini metropolis called ‘City Center’—which includes its own power station and fire station—was opened at the end of 2009, with more sections due to be completed in the coming years.
Best time to take a holiday to Las Vegas
Several factors should be considered when traveling to Las Vegas, including the weather, holidays, and major entertainment. Las Vegas is located in the desert and receives little precipitation. The summer can be quite warm: the average temperature is 37ºC or higher from June to August. More mild temperatures can be expected between October and April, when temperatures range between 15ºC and 28ºC. Las Vegas doesn't really have an off-season, but you may want to avoid taking your holiday during July 4th (Independence Day), holiday weekends, and Valentine's Day. Most major entertainment such as celebrity performers are year round, but a specific performer may take a break, so it's recommended that you check their schedule.
Insider tips for Las Vegas travel
- The top of the Stratosphere Tower: at 1,149 feet, you will see Las Vegas' beauty in its entirety.
- The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has an extensive collection of exquisite art from around the world.
- Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum has an impressive collection of wax sculptures of celebrities past and present.
- The Shark Reef Aquarium, located at Mandalay Bay, has numerous sharks and other ocean creatures to enjoy, plus a walk-through tunnel.
- Fremont Street is located downtown and is home to famous old casinos, such as The Golden Nugget, Binions, and Fitzgerald's.
Las Vegas highlights
Chance Your Luck in the Casinos
Whether you want to bet some loose change or sit with the high rollers, you’ll find an option in Las Vegas. In fact, it will probably find you: from penny slot machines to blackjack tables to the location of the toilets, everything is designed to encourage playing. Most casinos are open for business 24 hours, and offer free drinks. There’s no point trying to resist, so come prepared to lose, and you never know when luck might strike.
Marry on a Whim
There’s nothing like a ring on your finger to remind you of your hedonistic holiday. Chapels are almost as common as casinos in Las Vegas, and have witnessed the coming together of many celebrity couples. Elvis-themed and drive-through are now the staples on the wedding menu, but you can also say your vows on the Starship Enterprise (complete with klingons as witnesses) or in a hot-air balloon.
Experience Zero Gravity
Before you come back down to Earth with a bump, try a flight into space. Some aircraft can reconstruct a short period of zero gravity with special flying manoeuvres, and ‘Zero G’ has brought the experience to Las Vegas. Passengers experience varying degrees of weightlessness—from moon-style walking to a full float — during the 90 minute round trip. It’s not a cheap activity, but then this isn’t a place to visit if you are not willing to splurge.
See a Show
From magic to musicals, boxing to ballet, the entertainment options are endless. Global names like David Copperfield and Cirque du Soleil are regulars at the MGM Grand, which also occasionally hosts championship boxing matches.
Reenergise at a Spa
If you are staying for longer than a couple of days, you’ll need to recharge the batteries. Luckily, most of the casinos have their own spas, each with their own lavish design. The Canyon Ranch Club is a must-visit. On top of excellent massages, its ‘aquavana’ suite offers all sorts of water-related therapies, including rain showers that can be set to ‘Caribbean storm’ or ‘cool fog’.
Top Las Vegas attractions
- The Bellagio Fountains is a display of dancing water choreographed to music. A show starts every 15 minutes.
- The Beatles - Love - Cirque du Soleil is a must see for Beatles fans. The show celebrates the band's music in a unique way.
- Vegas Indoor Skydiving is a thrilling experience. Enjoy the sensation of skydiving from 22 feet in the air.
- Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition is a museum dedicated to the historic ship with many authentic Titanic artefacts on display.
- Bodies: The Exhibition is located at the Luxor and is a unique and educational display of the human body.
- The Eiffel Tower Experience, located at the Paris casino, is a smaller-scale version of the real thing and provides a unique view of the city.
- The Fremont Street Experience, located on Fremont Street, is a pedestrian mall with a large barrel vault canopy. Light shows are broadcast on the canopy nightly, accompanied by music.
- M&M's World is dedicated to everything to do with the famous chocolate candies. This 28,000 foot entertainment complex is great for kids.
- Imperial Palace Auto Collection is a display of over 800 classic automobiles. It is a must-see for car lovers.
- The Venetian Casino is an extraordinary and beautiful casino with painted ceilings that everyone will be able to appreciate.
Let’s face it: ‘The Strip’ is what everyone goes to Vegas for. What other road has the Eiffel tower, the Empire State Building, and a 50-ton bronze lion all within walking distance? The dizzying neon lights and often-photographed ‘Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas’ sign will tell you that you’ve made it to the wildest holiday of your life. The post-weekend hangover will be the confirmation.
Before you go inside to hit the slots, pause to catch the fountain show outside the Bellagio casino. At regular intervals day and night, over a thousand cleverly-illuminated plumes of water dance to a mixture of opera, swing and Christmas carols. The casino front and fountains have featured in several Hollywood films, including Ocean’s 11.
You couldn’t have an exhibition of marine life in Las Vegas without something special. Shark Reef’s underwater glass passageway goes deep into a giant water tank to provide ‘bottom-up’ views of rays, turtles, sharks and even the odd diver (yes, that’s available too). The aquarium also has interesting educational and environmental programs.
Walter Valentino Liberace was the ultimate showman, and this ultra-kitsch museum ensures his flamboyant style will not be forgotten. Giant mock pages of sheet music and piano keys adorn the outside of the building, which contains some of Liberace’s outrageous belongings. If you can look past the mirror-tiled piano and sequinned outfits, several records show off the entertainer’s lesser-known philanthropic streak.
Atomic Testing Museum
It’s not the most obvious theme for a museum, but it was only half a century ago that the nearby Nevada desert was a major site used for testing nuclear weaponry. The museum offers a detailed and well-presented review of the ‘atomic age’, and invites visitors to experience the sensation of a bomb explosion from inside a test bunker.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Where to stay in Las Vegas
For style and elegance, try the Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas. Each of the nearly 3,000 rooms has a private terrace with commanding views of the neon madness below. Studios with kitchenettes are available for those who want more freedom, while plasma televisions come as standard.
The name says it all at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The sprawling complex includes a concert arena, a 740-seat theatre, and a lion habitat. Special upgrades include ‘Celebrity Spa’ suites—featuring a whirlpool bath—and the hi-tech ‘West Wing’ room. Reserve this one well in advance: the hotel is so popular that the maximum stay is 14 days.
The iconic Bellagio Hotel is one of the most recognised resorts in the world. Once you check in, there will be very few reasons to leave—there is even a fine-art gallery and shopping centre inside. Rooms start at deluxe and get increasingly luxurious. Big spenders might consider the Penthouse Suite on a private floor.
Soak up the opulence of ancient Rome at Caesars Palace Hotel. All rooms are decked out in marble, but come with all the amenities a modern emperor could want. The spectacular ‘Garden of the Gods’ swimming area includes eight pools—and even a swim-up blackjack table for those who can’t wait to get gaming.
You can get above it all at the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower, the tallest building in Western USA. From the upper deck, you can see beyond The Strip out into the Nevada valley. For the ultimate thrill, the amusement park rides are over 100 floors up.
How to move around in Las Vegas
From the Airport
It’s probably no coincidence that the McCarran International Airport is near the Southern point of The Strip, making it easy to go straight from plane to game once you land. For $5, a shuttle service will run you up the main boulevard.
Getting Around the City
Monorails will take you up and down The Strip quickly and comfortably. The LV Monorail ($5) runs until the early hours of the morning, stopping at most of the major spots. All-day passes are also available from $12.
Shorter monorail shuttles are run by the companies that own several casinos on The Strip and will whisk you from one resort to the other for free.
The local bus network provides access to the downtown area, which is a short journey from The Strip. The ‘Deuce’ service ($2) connects the two areas and runs continuously all through the day and night.
To cruise the main drag your own way, consider one of many Las Vegas car hire options. This also provides the freedom to take a break from the bright lights and visit other areas of the city and surrounding area, including the breathtaking Grand Canyon.
An alternative is to act like a big player, hire a limousine, and be chauffeur-driven for a night. Bear in mind that traffic on The Strip and surrounding areas can be torturous at certain times of the day.
Las Vegas restaurants
Arguably the best chef on the planet, Joël Robuchon owns two eateries in Las Vegas. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (MGM Grand) is the smaller, less fancy version, but gives diners the opportunity to sit and watch how things should be done in the kitchen.
Consider your wine choice carefully at Aureole (Mandalay Bay Resort): suspended stewards called ‘wine angels’ will pluck your selection from a four-floor glass tower holding nearly 10,000 bottles. Renowned chef Charlie Palmer adds a personal touch to classic American dishes.
It might not be quite as romantic as Paris, but dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant (Paris Hotel) is still well worth a visit. It has a great vantage point perched at the top of the replica structure, and the twisted metal bars poking through the walls give the whole place an arty edge. If you find it hard to choose from the list of mouth-watering French dishes, leave it up to chef Jojo and opt for the tasting menu.
It’s a bit out of town and located in a typical US shopping centre (strip mall), but Rosemary’s Restaurant (8125 West Sahara Avenue) is a big local favourite for delicious southern-style food, extensive wine list, and homely service.
The In-N-Out Burger (2900 West Sahara Avenue) is a typical Californian no-nonsense, fast-food outlet. It’s a good option if you are looking to fill up quickly before heading to a show or back to the gaming floor.
Most of the hotels in Las Vegas also include at least one reasonably-priced all-you-can-eat buffet, allowing gamblers to save their money for other things.
Health & Safety
As with most US destinations, there are no requirements for specific vaccinations for entry. Before you travel, check that you are up-to-date with your general booster schedule.
Health and Hygiene
Temperatures can soar in summer, so try to avoid sun exposure from 11a.m. to 3p.m. Also make sure you remain well hydrated—tap water is drinkable but generally doesn’t taste good. Bottled water is on sale everywhere and inexpensive.
Medical care is first class here, but also costly.
The vast number of tourists means that Las Vegas is largely well policed and safe, particularly on The Strip. That said, you should not be complacent: always follow basic safety rules about not walking alone into unknown areas and keeping valuables well hidden.
Las Vegas is a place to go wild, but law enforcement is strict so always be careful to respect local rules and regulations. This particular applies to the possession of drugs and local speed limits.
While there have been efforts to make The Strip safer for pedestrians, be careful when walking, and especially when crossing the road.
In a place that never sleeps and where every desire can be fulfilled, it is important to be aware of your limits. Casinos purposely don’t have clocks, so keep track of time and make sure you take regular breaks from gaming to eat and rest.
Also never forget that the house is almost certain to win in the long run – don’t lose count of how much money you are gambling.
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